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  • Haig Kazazian Lab

    Lab Website
    Principal Investigator:
    Haig Kazazian, M.D.
    Pediatrics

    The Kazazian Lab focuses on the biology of LINE-1 (L1) retrotransposons. Retrotransposons are pieces of genomic DNA that have the ability to duplicate themselves and insert into a new genomic location. Current studies use innovative DNA sequencing to locate all human-specific L1s in any genome. By understanding L1 biology, we hope to better understand the role of these genomes and their behavior in complex human disease, such as cancer and mental disorders. The lab is also examining how to carry out gene therapy of hemophilia A using AAV vectors.

    Research Areas: cell biology, cancer, retrotransposons, DNA, genomics, mental disorders
  • Hey-Kyoung Lee Lab

    Principal Investigator:
    Hey-Kyoung Lee, Ph.D.
    Neuroscience

    The Hey-Kyoung Lee Lab is interested in exploring the cellular and molecular changes that happen at synapses to allow memory storage. We use various techniques, including electrophysiological recording, biochemical and molecular analysis, and imaging, to understand the cellular and molecular changes that happen during synaptic plasticity.

    Currently, we are examining the molecular and cellular mechanisms of global homeostatic synaptic plasticity using sensory cortices as model systems. In particular, we found that loss of vision elicits global changes in excitatory synaptic transmission in the primary visual cortex. Vision loss also triggers specific synaptic changes in other primary sensory cortices, which we postulate underlies sensory compensation in the blind. One of our main research goals is to understand the mechanisms underlying such cross-modal synaptic plasticity.

    We are also interested in elucidating the events that occur in diseased brains. In collaboration with othe...r researchers, we are analyzing various mouse models of Alzheimer's disease, especially focusing on the possible alterations in synaptic plasticity mechanisms.
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    Research Areas: biochemistry, synaptic plasticity, memory, imaging, vision, molecular biology, Alzheimer's disease
  • Holland Lab

    Lab Website

    Research in the Holland Lab focuses on the molecular mechanisms that control accurate chromosome distribution and the role that mitotic errors play in human health and disease. We use a combination of chemical biology, biochemistry, cell biology and genetically engineered mice to study pathways involved in mitosis and their effect on cell and organism physiology. One of our major goals is to develop cell and animal-based models to study the role of cell-division defects in genome instability and tumorigenesis.

    Research Areas: cancer, genomics, molecular biology
  • Inoue Lab

    Lab Website
    Principal Investigator:
    Takanari Inoue, Ph.D.
    Cell Biology

    Complexity in signaling networks is often derived from co-opting one set of molecules for multiple operations. Understanding how cells achieve such sophisticated processing using a finite set of molecules within a confined space--what we call the "signaling paradox"--is critical to biology and engineering as well as the emerging field of synthetic biology.

    In the Inoue Lab, we have recently developed a series of chemical-molecular tools that allow for inducible, quick-onset and specific perturbation of various signaling molecules. Using this novel technique in conjunction with fluorescence imaging, microfabricated devices, quantitative analysis and computational modeling, we are dissecting intricate signaling networks.

    In particular, we investigate positive-feedback mechanisms underlying the initiation of neutrophil chemotaxis (known as symmetry breaking), as well as spatio-temporally compartmentalized signaling of Ras and membrane lipids such as phosphoinositides. In parallel,... we also try to understand how cell morphology affects biochemical pathways inside cells. Ultimately, we will generate completely orthogonal machinery in cells to achieve existing, as well as novel, cellular functions. Our synthetic, multidisciplinary approach will elucidate the signaling paradox created by nature. view more

    Research Areas: biochemistry, cell biology, chemotaxis, cancer, signaling paradox, signaling networks, molecular biology, synthetic biology
  • Jantzie Lab

    Principal Investigator:
    Lauren Jantzie, Ph.D.
    Pediatrics

    Dr. Jantzie, associate professor, received her Ph.D. in Neurochemistry from the University of Alberta in 2008. In 2013 she completed her postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Neurology at Boston Children's Hospital & Harvard Medical School and became faculty at the University of New Mexico. Dr. Jantzie then joined the faculty Departments of Pediatrics (Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine) and Neurology at Johns Hopkins University and the Kennedy Krieger Institute in January 2019. Her lab investigates the pathophysiology of encephalopathy of prematurity, and pediatric brain injury common to infants and toddlers. Dr. Jantzie is dedicated to understanding disease processes in the developing brain as a means to identifying new therapeutic strategies and treatment targets for perinatal brain injury. Her lab studies neural substrates of cognition and executive function, inhibitory circuit formation, the role of an abnormal intrauterine environment on brain development, mechanisms of neurorepa...ir and microglial activation and polarization. Using a diverse array of clinically relevant techniques such as MRI, cognitive assessment, and biomarker discovery, combined with traditional molecular and cellular biology, the Jantzie lab is on the front lines of translational pediatric neuroscience.? view more

    Research Areas: Neonatology, neuroscience
  • Jeremy Nathans Laboratory

    Lab Website

    The Jeremy Nathans Laboratory is focused on neural and vascular development, and the role of Frizzled receptors in mammalian development. We use gene manipulation in the mouse, cell culture models, and biochemical reconstitution to investigate the relevant molecular events underlying these processes, and to genetically mark and manipulate cells and tissues. Current experiments are aimed at defining additional Frizzled-regulated processes and elucidating the molecular mechanisms and cell biologic results of Frizzled signaling within these various contexts. Complementing these areas of biologic interest, we have ongoing technology development projects related to genetically manipulating and visualizing defined cell populations in the mouse, and quantitative analysis of mouse visual system function.

    Research Areas: vascular development, biochemistry, cell biology, neurodevelopment, genomics, Frizzled receptors, neuroscience
  • Joel Pomerantz Laboratory

    The Pomerantz Laboratory studies the molecular machinery used by cells to interpret extracellular signals and transduce them to the nucleus to affect changes in gene expression. The accurate response to extracellular signals results in a cell's decision to proliferate, differentiate or die, and it's critical for normal development and physiology. The dysregulation of this machinery underlies the unwarranted expansion or destruction of cell numbers that occurs in human diseases like cancer, autoimmunity, hyperinflammatory states and neurodegenerative disease.

    Current studies in the lab focus on signaling pathways that are important in innate immunity, adaptive immunity and cancer, with particular focus on pathways that regulate the activity of the pleiotropic transcription factor NF-kB.

    Research Areas: immunology, neurodegenerative disorders, cancer, autoimmune, hyperinflammatory states, molecular biology
  • John Schroeder Lab

    Principal Investigator:
    John Schroeder, Ph.D.
    Medicine

    The John Schroeder Lab focuses on understanding the role human basophils and mast cells play in allergic reactions, as it relates not only to their secretion of potent inflammatory mediators (e.g., histamine and leukotriene C4) but also to their production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. We have long utilized human cells rather than cell lines in order to address the parameters, signal transduction and pharmacological aspects underlying clinically relevant basophil and mast cell responses. As a result, the lab has established protocols for rapidly isolating large numbers of basophils at high purity from human blood and for growing culture-derived mast cells/basophils from human progenitor cells. A variety of assays and techniques are also in place for concurrently detecting cytokines and mediators following a wide range of stimuli. These have facilitated the in vitro testing of numerous anti-allergic drugs for inhibitory activity on basophil and mast cell activation. The lab also studie...s counter-regulation between the IgE and innate immune receptors on human immature dendritic cell subtypes. view more

    Research Areas: cell biology, allergies, inflammation
  • John T. Isaacs Laboratory

    Lab Website
    Principal Investigator:
    John Isaacs, Ph.D.
    Oncology

    While there has been an explosion of knowledge about human carcinogenesis over the last 2 decades, unfortunately, this has not translated into the development of effective therapies for either preventing or treating the common human cancers. The goal of the Isaacs’ lab is to change this situation by translating theory into therapy for solid malignancies, particularly Prostate cancer. Presently, a series of drugs discovered in the Isaacs’ lab are undergoing clinical trials in patients with metastatic cancer.

    The ongoing drug discovery in the lab continues to focus upon developing agents to eliminate the cancer initiating stem cells within metastatic sites of cancer. To do this, a variety of bacterial and natural product toxins are being chemically modified to produce “prodrugs” whose cytotoxicity is selectively activated by proteases produced in high levels only by cancer cells or tumor associated blood vessel cells. In this way, these prodrugs can be given systemically to metastati...c patients without un-acceptable toxicity to the host while being selectively activated to potent killing molecules within metastatic sites of cancer.

    Such a “Trojan Horse” approach is also being developed using allogeneic bone marrow derived Mesenchymal Stem cells which are genetically engineered to secrete “prodrugs” so that when they are infused into the patient, they selectively “home” to sites of cancers where the appropriate enzymatic activity is present to liberate the killing toxin sterilizing the cancer “neighborhood”.
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    Research Areas: anti-cancer drugs, stem cell biology
  • Jun O. Liu Laboratory

    Lab Website

    The Jun O. Liu Laboratory tests small molecules to see if they react in our bodies to find potential drugs to treat disease. We employ high-throughput screening to identify modulators of various cellular processes and pathways that have been implicated in human diseases from cancer to autoimmune diseases. Once biologically active inhibitors are identified, they will serve both as probes of the biological processes of interest and as leads for the development of new drugs for treating human diseases. Among the biological processes of interest are cancer cell growth and apoptosis, angiogenesis, calcium-dependent signaling pathways, eukaryotic transcription and translation.

    Research Areas: cancer, autoimmune, eukaryotic cells, drugs, cellular signaling, pharmacology, calcium-dependent signaling pathways, molecular biology, angiogenesis
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